How can a flashy new celebrity chef-connected restaurant survive an overwhelmingly negative review? If it’s Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant — Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar — it can probably get by for a while just with customers who’re curious to see if it can possibly be as bad as it sounds. The ironic set has money to burn, after all.
Businessweek’s Claire Suddath read the New York Times‘ scathing review of Fieri’s spot and like many of us, wondered if was all grody Donkey Sauce* and blue drinks or if there was anything resembling edible food there. The review piqued curiosity among those who might never venture into the heartland to swill margaritas at a T.G.I. Fridays or chow down on some baby back ribs at Chili’s — in other words, those lovers of all things ironic.
She writes that a manager insists that business has “been doing very well,” despite the negative buzz, other than some hurt feelings among the line cooks.
She spoke to some local New Yorkers, who are less likely than tourists to venture into Times Square for a bite, including one who said the place was flooded on Thanksgiving with the irony lovers.
“They were all coming in an ironic way to check it out,” he said, adding that the turkey was flavorless but the beet salad was “pretty decent.”
“I don’t know what [Fieri] was thinking,” he added.“Maybe he’s just trying to replicate what your drunk grandma would make you for Thanksgiving?”
Suddath decided to try it out herself, and found a lot of full seats, a chippy waiter and reruns of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives ona loop on flat screen TVs. In the end, she wasn’t overly impressed. Shocking!
In the end, the entrees were disappointing. We tried a bland, Velveeta-y version of bacon mac and cheese, complete with what appeared to be off-brand Cheez-Its crumbled on top. We also had a passable cheeseburger coated in something called Donkey Sauce and an order of ribs. Here’s the surprising part: The ribs were good. They were big, juicy, not too fatty, not too saucy—and definitely something that could be enjoyed without irony. Maybe even at TGI Friday’s.
We appreciate Suddath’s bravery in the interest of a story, because the odds of one of our staff setting foot in that place are slim to none.
On that note, dining for the irony of it all should be its own sport in the Hipster Olympics — “Wasting Money On Food You’ll Probably Eat Just Because It’s Funny.”
*Neither the donkey in the above image or any others were hurt in the making of this story. Let’s just hope the same can be said for that “Donkey Sauce.”
Guy Fieri’s Restaurant: ‘Ironic Dining’ Mecca [Businessweek]